The FLAT project, day I

Posted on January 27th, 2008 @ 00:00 in Uncategorized

Hm, this flat really needs a name!! I mean, referring to it as “new flat” only works for so long, and since I’ll likely be mentioning it loads over the next few months I really should think of a name. Um anyway.

Yeah so I didn’t take as many pics as I’d planned, but at the end of the day, “painting one coat, painting 2nd coat, painting yet another coat” etc isn’t that interesting. Which is what my girls did, mostly. I myself didn’t. I painted the ceiling for about 2mins while Jana inspected my polyfilla efforts. So I still don’t really know how to paint but I’m told it’s not too hard. Some pics:


Jana prying away one of them cable-hiding things.


Antje is… not sure, probably covering the doorknob. Take note of the blueness
of the walls. THAT FUCKING BLUE!!!!! (sorry Katja)


Yeah so given the opportunity I had to write something on the wall but
couldn’t come up with anything better than this.


The dark blue wall with, I believe, 3.5 coats of white paint. X(

Yeah so the stubbornness of The Blue was the main annoyance for today. IT JUST WON’T FADE!!!! Not nearly enough anyway. There were some other interesting discoveries as well tho… like the wall towards the front, under the window, as shown here:

… well this is a plaster wall. An outside plaster wall!!! We took off the radiator, removed the screws, ripped out the wall plugs… and it was basically hollow!!!! (behind it, about 10cms on, are the roof shingles – no fucking clue what’s in between but I doubt it’s anything that will provide some halfway decent insulation) And when I filled the holes with polyfilla it actually bulged out into the room, the only possible explanation being the wind blowing from outside! =)) Also when we removed the radiator (which doesn’t work) and unscrewed its socket… which leaves a hole… well there’s a draft coming trough that!!! :))

I probably shouldn’t be laughing since this is the flat I will be living in, wasting remarkable amounts of energy trying to heat it to a bearable temperature… but it is pretty amusing. Ah yes and then the heating – let me tell you about the heating. It doesn’t work! I dunno, maybe we’re doing something wrong but… it doesn’t work! The radiators in the various rooms have their separate circuit, and you can switch them on… but they do nothing! :)) Oh wait, I meant :(( *lol* Guess it’ll need another electrician visit. I remember the guy who came round to give me a quote was a bit baffled himself cuz he also couldn’t get them to work. But there must be a way. :-/

We’ll see. In Lux/French law there’s this thing called “vice cachรฉ” (hidden vice) – basically as a seller you have to reveal any issues you’re aware of, and if the buyer discovers any such thing later you have to cover the costs of fixing it. Of course if it goes to court the buyer has to prove the seller must have known about it (thus making it a ‘hidden vice’ rather than an unknown defect), but generally this makes it a lot harder to lie when you sell. It appears that in this country the basic idea is WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) and the buyer is responsible for uncovering any potential problems himself and deciding whether or not to buy (by getting a surveyor and paying him lots of money).

Which… it just seems like a really stupid system!! It costs both sides extra time and money… I keep thinking I must be missing something, there must be a good side to this, but so far I have not found it. One “theoretically” good thing for the buyer is that he can pull out until the very last minute. I now understand why – because the seller can lie through his teeth! So in practice it’s really not such a great thing at all: ‘hello, I’ve paid my solicitor and my surveyor, so of course I’ll think twice about starting this whole process all over again, esp. cuz I may well end up in this very situation again’. And I don’t see the advantage for the seller either – he lives with uncertainty until everything is completed – usually months after the first offer. What a fucking waste of time! It’s just built on…. dishonesty?! Or stupidity. ๐Ÿ˜

Compare with the Lux/French system (and I believe it is similar in Germany?): seller advertises property, buyer expresses interest, buyer and seller work out a preliminary contract (compromis / Vorvertrag) which says sth like “I buyer will buy property off you seller if I get the necessary mortgage, and if the property is as you describe and you’re not hiding anything from me.” So both parties are bound from the start, but the buyer has a recourse if he later finds out the seller has been lying-through-his-teeth. (which means the seller will be careful about lying from the start) This is good. Don’t get why it doesn’t work that way in the UK. Morons.

Ah well yada-yada, I really need to sleep now. I have a video too. Which will repeat some of the stuff I’ve said above, but it has moving pictures too! And audio! Not just written text! Hooray!

11 Comments

 
Katja said on Jan 27, 2008 at 12:24 am

Vive la rรฉvolution bleue! (Such a nice shiny blue… How could you even try to remove it? *sigh*) Vive Yves le grand! (who was pretty petit, actually)

But the heating/plaster wall thing is quite a disaster. I’d have gone mad. British flats are a nightmare. Can’t you isolate it somehow?


 
 
Clarissa said on Jan 27, 2008 at 8:28 am

LOL ja I know they’re a nightmare and I know you’d have gone mad. I can already imagine you complaining about the cold when you come to visit. :)) Come in summer ok!? ๐Ÿ˜›
Yes we could insulate it but we’d have to knock the whole wall down. Besides there’s no knowing if there isn’t some type of insulation behind it, there must be. Not even the British are that mad (I hope).

And well ja the heating is annoying but I already knocked the price down ยฃ2000 cuz I wanna replace the heating so now I can hardly complain if it doesn’t work. Actually I wouldn’t put it past the seller to have sabotaged it to piss me off after I lowered my offer. :)) ๐Ÿ˜

PS I DON’T WANT BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!! X(


 
 
Michelle said on Jan 27, 2008 at 10:26 am

In Germany it’s the same as it is in Lux/France. But I thought that was not surprising, because those laws are also based on European Union law, and I would have expected that it’s the same in the UK then.

But anyway, as you’re saying yourself, you saw it coming, and you even managed to lower the price, because you noticed the problem before. Even in court you’d have to admit you bought something knowing it was damaged, and it would be your own fault as far as you knew about the damages when you bought it.

When you told about it the first time, I said right away I’d not buy it, because heating costs are awful, and if you have a messed up apartment that wastes energy like mad, this problem can get really expensive. I didn’t want to shove my opinion down your throat, but I think this is a problem that can definitely cause a lot of headaches. I’d go nuts, too.

But you’ll work it out. ๐Ÿ™‚


 
 
Mon said on Jan 27, 2008 at 10:46 am

Wow @ 3-4 layers of white paint on blue wall and still looks like that. Are you sure you’re using the right kind of paint? ๐Ÿ˜

And re. “can’t call it ‘new flat’ forever so must find name”, you COULD just call it “flat” you know? :)) :p

IIIII wanna help too. ๐Ÿ˜


 
 
Clarissa said on Jan 27, 2008 at 2:37 pm

Yeah I know it’s not really a “hidden fault” as such – the radiators are tho if they don’t work. I lowered the price cuz of the bad insulation and inadequate heating, but not cuz there was no heating at all. :)) I mean I’m not really THAT fussed since I was gonna replace it all anyway. I just find it odd. I’ll call Murray (estate agent) tomorrow actually and see if he can ask Simon if there’s anything we’re missing.

The problem with the bad insulation is that it’s pretty much the same everywhere in those old buildings that have been added to and altered at low cost. So even if I hadn’t taken this I may well have encountered the problem again.

We’ll see how it goes, I’m not gonna get too worked up about this now. I mean I’ve spent the last 3 years in a flat with no double glazing and heating that I could only have ‘on’ when I was home (so the first 15mins after getting home are always freezing). The standards in this country are just… so very different.

LOL @ are you using the right kind of paint. We’re actually using very cheap ‘value’ paint there cuz we figured (and were advised by people in shop) that we shouldn’t ‘waste’ the good expensive paint on all the “undercoats.” I mean bear in mind it was a very dark blue. Plus Jana thinks it was some weird kinda glossy paint that probably makes it harder for new paint to stick to it.
We probably should’ve sanded it all down before painting over it but it’s too late for that now. Jana’s dad (who’s a decorating entrepreneur type thing) also said there’s some special kinds of ‘underpaint’ we could’ve used to help the new paint stick better. But it’s too late for that too now. He also said we should let it dry longer than we did. So we’re doing that now. ๐Ÿ˜›

PS My flat neeeeeds a name.
PPS Feel free to come and help. ๐Ÿ˜€
PPPS We’ve started on the bathroom too now. It’s very… smurfy. ๐Ÿ˜ :))


 
 
Katja said on Jan 27, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Freddie the Flat.


 
 
Clarissa said on Jan 27, 2008 at 8:22 pm

I already had Freddie the fridge in Lux. ๐Ÿ˜


 
 
squiZZ said on Jan 27, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Call him Simon. Call everything Simon.
x


 
 
Clarissa said on Jan 27, 2008 at 8:50 pm

๐Ÿ˜ฎ OMFG a squiZZcomment!!!

And no. There can be only one Simon.


 
 
Katja said on Jan 27, 2008 at 8:52 pm

Vlad the Flat. (you know, Dracula)


 
 
Clarissa said on Jan 27, 2008 at 8:54 pm

:)) That’s actually worth considering.


 

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